The new season will be a new era for the Buffalo Sabres with Rasmus Dahlin in the fold. But Jack Eichel is going back to something tried and true.
With Evander Kane now in San Jose, Eichel is going back to the uniform number from his days of youth and college hockey and switching from No. 15 to No. 9.
“For a long time, the number nine has always been a part of my identity as both a person and as a player,” Eichel said Friday in a statement through the team. “The opportunity opened up to switch and I felt it was the right time to make the change as I begin the next phase of my career as a Sabre.”
Eichel, who prominently wore the number as the Hobey Baker Award winner during his one season at Boston University, first teased the idea Friday on his Instagram account with an emoji over the number and has now revealed the number with the notation "New season, old number."
Eichel, of course, has some new numbers in his bank account as well. His eight-year, $80-million contract extension signed last October the night before the season opener kicked in on Sunday.
So what do you do if you have a No. 15 Eichel jersey and want to make the switch yourself?
Fans that own an official-licensed Eichel jersey with the No. 15 can go to the Sabres Store in KeyBank Center and get a $49 credit toward the purchase of a new adult Eichel No. 9 jersey, or $29 toward the purchase of a youth jersey.
The exchanges must take place at the store starting at 10 a.m. Monday. It is open weekdays until 5 p.m. For more information, fans can call the store at (716) 855-4140.
Eichel wore No. 41 during training camp and exhibition games in his rookie year. He was given No. 15 just prior to the start of the 2015-16 season, once he was officially named to the team by former GM Tim Murray and ex-coach Dan Bylsma.
Wearing No. 15 the last three seasons, Eichel has 73 goals and 104 assists in 209 career games. His No. 15 jersey was the No. 13 seller on Shop.NHL.com last season. Toronto's Auston Matthews was No. 1 and South Buffalo's Patrick Kane of Chicago was No. 8.
Evander Kane wore No. 9 for the last two seasons and it's been an important number for the club in recent years as it was worn by former captain Steve Ott for parts of two seasons and by longtime center Derek Roy from 2004-2012.
Kane replied to Eichel's Instagram post with the caption: "You're welcome #EK9."
The Sabres have yet to list uniform numbers for the players acquired in the last couple of weeks: Conor Sheary, Matt Hunwick, Carter Hutton, Tage Thompson, Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund.
Former Buffalo center Ryan O'Reilly, who was traded Sunday to St. Louis, will get his old No. 90 with the Blues after Nikita Soshnikov quickly volunteered to give it up and switch to No. 86.
List of Buffalo Sabres No. 9s
Jack Eichel (2018-)
Evander Kane (2016-18)
Steve Ott (2013-14)
Derek Roy (2004-12)
Eric Rasmussen (1998-2002)
Vaclav Varada (1996)
Viktor Gordiuk (1993-95)
Greg Brown (1991)
Scott Arniel (1987-90)
Gilles Hamel (1982-86)
Mike Moller (1982)
J.F. Sauve (1981)
Jacques Richard (1976-79)
Rick Dudley (1975-81)
Norm Gratton (1973-75)
Rick Martin (1973)
Butch Deadmarsh (1973)
Danny Lawson (1972)
Reggie Fleming (1971)